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Type 1 Diabetes Risk Higher With Affected Dad Than Mom

Disease more likely in children of affected males than children of affected females

FRIDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Fathers with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have children with the disease than diabetic mothers, especially if they were diagnosed at an early age, according to a report in the May issue of Diabetes.

Valma Harjutsalo, of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues analyzed data from a national Finnish register that included patients diagnosed with childhood- or adolescent-onset type 1 diabetes from 1965 to 1979. Follow-up was conducted between 1970 and 2003 with 5,291 offspring of the cohort, including 259 who developed type 1 diabetes.

The cumulative incidence for diabetes in the offspring was 6.7 percent by age 20. Children of affected males, children of those who were diagnosed at a young age and children who were born more recently had a higher risk for type 1 diabetes within the study sample. The researchers found that 7.8 percent of children of type 1 diabetic fathers were diagnosed with the disease before age 20 compared with 5.3 percent of children of diabetic mothers.

"Our results reinforce that genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes might be modified somehow in diabetic pregnancies," the authors write. "Furthermore, the effect might be different to sons and daughters."

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